Archive for February, 2008


Here’s the opening verses from Mark’s story of Jesus’ exorcism of a legion of demons from a man who lived among the tombs in the country of the Geresenes:



Mark 5:1-6:  “And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.

A     2  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,

B     3  and he had his dwelling among the tombs

C     And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain

D    4  because he had often been bound with shackles

E     and chains,

E’    and the chains had been torn apart by him,

D’    and the shackles broken in pieces,

C’    and no one was strong enough to subdue him.

B’    5  And constantly night and day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out and gashing himself with stones. 

A’    6  And seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him …”

The Gospel of Mark is filled with chiasmi.  I wonder sometimes whether various chiasmi within Mark are Mark’s own creation – a kind of Markan signature? 

I wonder what Mark’s purpose was in placing this little chiasmus at the beginning of this story? 

I would suggest a helical read.  As you move from left to right and from outside to the inside, the chiasmus builds.  A meeting occurs (A/A’).  This meeting is with someone who lives among the tombs (B/B’).  With someone who “constantly day and night”, cries out and gashes himself with stones (B’).  A meeting with someone who has been impossible to bind (C) – a binding seemingly necessary due to his behavior (B’).  No one was strong enough to subdue him (C’).  In fact, he had been bound with shackles and chains many times (D/E), but in every case the chains and shackles had been torn apart and broken (E’/D’). 

The very center (D/E/E’/D’) produces the best evidence of supernatural influence – the man tears apart chains and breaks shackles. 

The story kind of reminds me of Samson who was also enabled with supernatural strength – only the source of that strength greatly differed.

Such was the nature of the meeting  …  Jesus vs. the legionary (legendary) demoniac.

Who wins?  …  Well, Jesus naturally.

Or more accurately,


GOD’s power is greater than Satan’s.


In the long run I hope to explore quite a number of Markan chiasmi.  Eventually, I hope to show how the entire Gospel of Mark can be viewed as a chiasmus.


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Here I’m going to place alternative terms for chiasmus.  (Interestingly, synonym.com had no synonyms for chiasmus):

Chiasm, concentric parallelism, reverse parallelism, introverted parallelism, inverted parallelism, reverse symmetry, mirror symmetry, ring structure.


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The Beginning


So this is it.  I’ve been tempted a number of times in the past to begin blogging.  I guess I haven’t, in part, because it seems like a lot of work. …  It probably is.  But I’ll give it a go.

This blog will most likely be primarily concerned with Biblical chiasmus.  …  I like chiasmi.  I like Biblical chiasmi.  Hopefully, there’s a few more of us out there. 

I guess we’ll see …


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